CASTLEFORD PEOPLE - RICHARD STOKER
Richard is a composer/ actor/ pianist/ writer/ painter / conductor.
"Richard Stoker is the apotheosis of a typical renaissance man" -
Humphrey Carpenter, BBC Radio 3.
A chance meeting with Lord Attenborough at Elstree Studios fifty years ago led
to Richard's dual role of film composer and actor. Filming King's latest feature
brought Richard back to Elstree. Since Lord Attenborough took him over to meet
Stanley Black, the MD of ABC Pictures, his duel career continued. Over sixty
films later he is proud of his record as an actor and composer. He has appeared
in The Da Vinci Code, Anamnesis, The Golden Age, Mrs Beaton, The Queen, the
Golden Compass, Franklyn, Wolfman, and recently Sherlock Holmes.
Richard has also appeared on BBC2 in a series on happiness in which he was
judged to be the happiest person present.
Richard Stoker, the world famous composer and
poet, was born at Castleford on the 8th November 1938. His father came from
Knottingley. He lived at Hill Road in Glass Houghton and as a boy made frequent
trips to Pontefract. His favourite childhood place was Pontefract Castle and his
favourite sport cricket.
He went to Bredalbane House School (now a home
for the elderly) where he composed a hymn for the school.
Picture of Richard Stoker (right)
with a friend outside Castleford Library in 1954
|From the age of seven Richard has written or
composed over 300 works of poetry, lyrics, prose and music; many of which have
been performed and broadcast world wide. His first broadcast by the BBC was when
he was fifteen.
Richard studied at the RAM (Royal
Academy of Music) with Lennox Berkeley and in Paris, as a Mendelssohn Scholar,
with Nadia Boulanger.
From 1963 until 1987 he was Professor of Composition and a tutor at the
Royal Academy of Music.
He was editor of the Composer magazine from 1969 until
He helped the composer Mikis Theodorakis who had
been imprisoned by the Greek military regime.
The American Biographical Institute's Board of
Research had nominated Richard Stoker for their prestigious title, Man of the
Year 1997, "due to his overall accomplishments and contributions to society."
The Institute, founded in 1967, gives the award to persons who have
"significantly enhanced world communities and professions."
Words Without Music, selected poems by
Richard Stoker was published in 1969 by the Golden Eagle Press.
The first volume of his autobiography uses a
cinema verité technique. It is called Open Window - Open Door and was
published in 1985 by Buckland Press Ltd. ISBN 0 7212 0699 9.
In 1993 his children's novel Tanglewood
was published by Merlin Books.
Diva, a novel and collected short
stories, was published in 1998 by Minerva.
ISBN 1 8586 3750 3
Richard has had two books of poetry published:
Words Without Music (1971) and Portrait of a Town (1974).
Here is one of Richard's poems. It is copyright
and is reproduced with permission:
New York Vistas
New York is more, much more than a city
A helpful junkie in baggy grey flannel slacks, sweat shirt,
holed socks, newspaper filled down-at-heel sandals, says:
'Give me a dime, sir,' he shivers, I give him a dollar
'Take yer where yer going' man fur that! he says, wiping
runny nose on his sleeve as he tries to keep out the cold.
His hand on my arm like a blind man guides me the few
Times Square to 'Musical America': 'Have a good day, sir,'
leaving me with a faint hearted weary half salute as he
through cold February snow. Later I'm propelled by yellow
along a Gershwin Musical of colourful canopied entrances to
litter on Broadway; descending, the architecture on 34th
reminds me unexpectedly of Leeds/Yorkshire where in china
coffee scented shopping arcades -- I played as a lad of
Changing lifts near the top of Empire State I remember the
masses yearning to breath free'. Looking out over Manhattan
poor' guide is now far, far below me. 'Does the Battery
stand in its place as in 1797 two hundred or so years ago?'
The city of dreams is now telescoped in time with more,
much more, -- a
darker side -- a city-of-sorrow seen through a rich
Richard Stoker - copyright © 1997.
Richard Stoker is a Fellow and an Associate of
the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM and ARAM), and is an Associate of the Royal
College of Music (ARCM). His recent commissions include a Chinese Canticle for
Inter-Artes, a Piano Sonata (No.2) for the concert pianist Eric Parkin, and a
Partita for mandolin and harp.
Richard belongs to the following organisations:
PRS, MCPS, Composers' Guild, APC, RAM Guild (Committee), Atlantic Council
(founder-member), Euro-Atlantic Group, United Nations Association.
Further information about Richard can be found in
the web sites listed below and in the following publications: Contemporary
Composers, Debrett's People of Today, Grove, Grove Opera, International Who's
Who, International Who's Who of Art, Men of Achievement, Oxford Dictionary of
Music, Who's Who in the World, and Who's Who in Entertainment.
Richard's own web
More information about
Sheet Music by Richard Stoker
List of compositions
As Morris Blake
in Return to Ravenswood
(search for "Richard Stoker")
(publishers of 'Diva')
Richard's review of "Ancestral Voices"
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